Indigenous knowledge and effective parent / school partnerships : insights and issues from 4 school case studies

McLaughlin, Juliana M., Whatman, Susan L., Katona, Mai, & Ross, Ruth (2008) Indigenous knowledge and effective parent / school partnerships : insights and issues from 4 school case studies. In Indigenous Studies and Indigenous Knowledge Conference, 2-4 July 2008, University of Tasmania, Hobart. (Unpublished)


Towards the last decade of the last millennium, Indigenous knowledge has been central to scholarly debates relating to decolonising knowledge on a global level. Much of these debates were advanced by Indigenous scholars in colonised countries particularly Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States. Indigenous scholars argue for the location of Indigenous knowledge as the epistemological standpoint (Battiste, Bell and Findlay, 2002; Kai’a, 2005; Nakata 2002, 2007) for intellectual engagements and methodology for resisting colonial constructions of the colonised other (Rigney, 1997; Smith, 1999, 2005). However, the challenge to engage Indigenous knowledge to inform research and educational processes, in many respects, is still a contested debate in western-oriented universities and institutions of higher education.

The place of Indigenous knowledge in Australian secondary and primary schools remains vague, while efforts to embed Indigenous perspectives in the curriculum continue to be made by both government and private educational providers. Educational funding for Indigenous education continues to operate from a ‘deficiency’ model, whereby educational outcomes are often measured against set criteria, reflecting a pass/fail structure, than a more comprehensive investigation of educational outcomes and quality of learning experiences. Teacher knowledge, effective parental and community engagement into students’ learning and students’ experiences of schooling continue to be secondary to students’ final results.

This paper presents preliminary findings of Parent School Partnership Initiative (PSPI) project conducted by the Oodgeroo Unit at the Queensland University of Technology in partnerships with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Focus Group for the Caboolture Shire, in South East Queensland. The state government sponsored initiative was to examine factors that promote and enhance parent/school engagement with their students’ schooling, and to contribute to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students’ learning and completion of secondary schooling within the participating schools in a more holistic way. We present four school case studies and discuss some of the early findings. We conclude by arguing the importance of the recognition of Indigenous knowledge and its place in enhancing parent – schools partnerships.

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ID Code: 42358
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: No
Keywords: Indigenous education, School - community partnerships, Indigenous knowledge, Indigenous participation and partnership in schooling
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > SPECIALIST STUDIES IN EDUCATION (130300) > Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education (130301)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Chancellery
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2008 Please consult the authors.
Deposited On: 04 Jul 2011 01:25
Last Modified: 04 Jul 2011 16:48

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